Headlines: October 4th, 2005

Large companies are to be encouraged to work more closely with local authorities and the Health and Safety Executive to develop partnerships to improve safety in workplaces. The HSE and the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACoRS) have jointly launched the Large Organisation Project Pilot.The pilot project has three main aims, presenting a more coherent customer-focused face to large organisations, securing improvements to health and safety in the organisations, including getting them to act as examples of good practice and exploring whether the companies are interested in some formal recognition of good health and safety performance.

Seventeen companies, both Local Authority and HSE enforced, with a total workforce of about a million people, have been invited to join the pilot. Asda, Tesco, Astrazeneca, BAE Systems and Greggs are already on board.

Mark Du Val, the Assistant Director of LACoRS, said the pilot would deliver significant benefits both to the organisations involved and to the local authorities and HSE as regulators. The scheme has been designed so that it will enable local councils and the Executive to engage more effectively with large organisations in the private sector. It is rooted in the belief that the people best placed to make workplaces safer from harm are the staff and managers who work in them and it envisages a reciprocal relationship between the regulators and the companies.

Its objectives would see a consistent and coordinated approach to the inspection of multi-site businesses. The companies would also be urged to use their influence more widely by, for instance, acting as examples of good practice or through their supply chains. At a later stage there will be preliminary discussions about the level of interest in some kind of formal recognition of good health and safety outcomes.